Truc Vert. Not quite a fisherman’s hut.
This is a quiet unassuming little café, in the northern part of Mayfair. It’s named after a beach on the south-west coast of France – its website says that it “captures the simple unaffected style of the local fishermen’s huts, aiming to provide simple but elegant dining in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.”
Fisherman’s huts in Mayfair? That’s novel.
This is open for breakfast lunch and dinner. The full English, because that is what it is, will set you back £10.95. Eggs and toast anyway you like, is £4.95 and a hot baked cheese and tomato croissant is a rather steep £5.95. It’s a pretty standard breakfast though, and a little more civilised than popping into your local Prêt for something not too dissimilar – at least in terms of the croissant.
I did clock that they have buttermilk pancakes with blueberry compôte and having now spotted that, I will need to go back and try it. It’s open at 7.30 am so I suspect I will be doing a number of early morning meetings there. Not too many at that time though.
Lunch is served from 12 until 5. There is quite a large selection at lunch and you can either stick to the diet or go large. Because I am pretending, despite a lifetime’s evidence to the contrary, that cutting down, without actually weighing myself, is going to lose weight, I chose soup and a starter.
We got a decent plate of bread-and-butter, of which I only had one and a half pieces. See? I am really making an effort with this whole cutting-down thing.
The soup was pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger soup with Parmesan and yes, you guessed it, truffle oil. In fact, the truffle oil was not overpowering but the soup itself was a little bland. I couldn’t really discern the ginger and to me, it just felt a little bit watery. I like a bit more intense pumpkin flavour in my soup. My tip? Roast it.
Then, another starter, of grilled mackerel fillet, with marinated beetroot, baby fennel, slow roasted cherry tomatoes, watercress salad and olive salsa. This was £8.50. It was a generous portion of mackerel and went well with the beetroot, the salad and the salsa. It worked as a mini main course and was reasonable value.
My dining partner, a radiant recruiter who is extremely slim and glamorous, and to top it all, a very lovely person and no, of course I’m not envious at all, no really not at all, why would I be – chose one of the Truc Vert quiches, of which there are a selection of three on any given day. It was presented as an individual quiche, shaped into a square and for £6.75 was a reasonable portion. It met with approval.
We could have had either a starter, main or dessert-size plate of charcuterie or cheese, or a combination of both.
The puddings, which we skipped, are fairly simple – things like chocolate brownie with pistachio ice cream vanilla crème brûlée with fresh berries or ice cream and sorbets.
If you are going to have a proper grown-up meal, reckon on spending £20-£25 on a main course. If you had what I would call a “normal” meal here of three courses each, I expect you would be looking at 90-100 quid for two, before wine or coffee – wines range from £18-£60 a bottle and there are plenty by the glass, all around the £6-£7 mark.
I think at these prices, this is really a lunch place and you can stick to the smaller plates. I feel that the main courses are quite expensive for the quality of food that you get and also for the sort of place this is which is, effectively, a café.
One is obviously subsidising the Mayfair rents here, which goes some way to explaining some of the prices but you can eat here cheaply if you choose wisely from the menu. It’s a good basic local café-type restaurant, much needed in the area and I would come back. Report on blueberry pancakes to follow…